For four months, I studied abroad in London, England. These notes are select entries from my experiences in the United Kingdom and Western Europe from that time.
Sunday, October 18 –
I awoke a little after 8 a.m. and packed before heading down to the lobby at the Hotel Michy. We left shortly later at 9:10 for Versailles and said goodbye to the City of Lights.
The Palace of Versailles was the former French royal residence, but is now a national landmark. It is located about 10 miles southwest of Paris. We arrived at Versailles around 9:30. It was amazing to be at such an impressive and historical place. I had studied so much about Louis XIV, the Sun King, during high school in European history, so it was huge pleasure to see his palace in real life. The palace was so big, it was difficult to take it all in.
For me, the highlights were the chapel, gold room, themed rooms, the Hall of Mirrors (Galerie de Glaces), the lions, beautiful gardens and many pools. It really makes you understand the power of the absolute monarchs. The Galerie des Glaces has 17 wide, arcaded mirrors opposite 17 windows. Underneath a elaborate painted arch ceiling, glass chandeliers hung below while statues and reliefs border the walls. On opposite ends of the hall, it was bookmarked by the Salon de la Paix (Salon of Peace) and Salon de la Guerre (Salon of War). If you remember studyng WWI, it was in the Galerie des Glaces that the Treaty of Versailles was signed. The harshness of the war reparations imposed on Germany at Versailles would facilitate the rise of Hitler and World War Two.
After strolling through the beautiful gardens, we left at about 11 a.m. At 11:20 a.m., we stopped at the town market and had until 12:30 p.m. to buy our lunch. I bought some nice pastries that were delicious. Then it was back on the road to England. From about 12:30 to 15:00 p.m., we traveled towards Calais by coach before stopping at wine warehouse for an hour. I bought a Stella Artois stein, a bottle of champagne and a jumbo hotdog for lunch outside.
Around 15:45, we left again on the bus for Calais. We boarded the ferry at 17:30 and said goodbye to the continent around 18:00 p.m. Selling across the English Channel, we could see the huge White Cliffs of Dover in the distance. I spent the time to finish updating my budget on the ferry.
After about 90 minutes, we reached Dover. With the hour gained, this put us back in England at 18:30 GMT. From 18:30 to 20:30 p.m., we travelled back to London where we finally arrived back in South Kensington. I was able to finish my business classes and Spanish journal entries during the bus ride. Afterwards, I had Burger King for dinner at Gloucester Road before coming back to study until 1:30 a.m. for my IDIS 360 midterm tomorrow. I then finally caught up on some much needed sleep!